The Long Haul: Hoofing it from Tahoe to CO Solo


Nathan braves the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains alone

The Loneliest Highway, US Route 50 through Nevada and into Utah headed East, leaves me in the bus with my fancy lady wig from Halloween unaccompanied save for the radio and the rarely passing car in the other direction. Breaking down in the Great Basin Desert, while surely likely to prove a great adventure, is as far off my list of wishes as buying a stick house and settling down to paint the picket fence white. I have a Lady to meet in Colorado and want to put the distance between her and I into as few flips of the hourglass as possible. Winding roads through shrub forests, long straight stretches that seem to last from sunrise to set and all too often closed for the evening gas stations paint themselves in the Bus’ windshield as the Dead Weather scream me amplified to keep hauling.

The Bus will do it, but doesn’t like breaking top speed — a whopping 65mph — and keeping it under that is an exercise in nearly impossible self-control.

I sleep away the first night in a gas station parking lot. The second in a hotel room in Eagle, Colorado, where in a haste to make the final haul over the Rockies into Nederland I forget my glasses. With my contact lens supply dwindling and the Bus climbing over the pass at Vale some 20mph (two trailer long rigs passing me like Speed Racer in Fast Forward) steady, I can only hope that the return to that fabled woman of my dreams will prove all the worth it.

Route 50 has got to be my favorite long haul highway, and with a few chats over tank fillups with whatever locals in the station’s towns are sharing that endeavor, I arrive safely, soundly, and a little shorter on supplies in Nederland before the end of my third day.